Seizures in Cats

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For any pet owner out there, seeing your beloved cat going through a seizure can be a horrifying experience. Seizures usually last for a maximum of 5 minutes and your cat will be unconscious throughout. In this article, we will discover the causes and treatments for seizures and cautions to take in the future.

Causes

In cats, seizures are a result of abnormal electrochemical activity in the brain. Typically, seizures are seen as a result of epilepsy, either primary or idiopathic. There are many other causes for seizures including previous brain damage, congenital disorders, kidney and liver disorders, tumors, infections, poor blood flow and more.

What happens during a seizure?

Minutes before a seizure occurs, cats show restlessness and pace around or are scared and try to hide. Vomiting is also a pre-seizure symptom. These behaviors occur minutes before a seizure and are hard to notice as some of this behavior is common.Cats usually collapse sideways during a seizure and start convulsing uncontrollably. The cat is completely unconscious during this time and is not in control of it's muscle movements. These movements include moving of the paws and jaw snapping. Your cat might also urinate or defecate during a seizure. Thankfully, seizures last only for a minute or two. If the seizure does not stop then please take your cat to the vet immediately.Once the seizure has ended, your cat may be disoriented and shows signs of temporary blindness. Added to this, some cats may experience temporary paralysis in their legs. Overall, your cat will need several days to get back to normal.

What can I do during a seizure?

Since your cat is completely unconscious, it does not feel any pain. Owners have to remain calm and try moving your cat into a safe place that is away from furniture and stairs. Remember that your cat cannot control it's movements and be careful to avoid getting scratched/bitten. All the other house pets need to be kept away as they may get upset or scared and try to attack the cat. After a seizure, your cat may not recognize you as it is disoriented. This might lead it to attack you or run away.

Treatment

Veterinarians usually prescribe phenobarbital to stop seizures. If the seizure lasts for lesser than 5 minutes and is determined to be epilepsy then all the vet will do is stop the seizure. If the seizures occur very frequently (less than 2 months apart) then the vet prescribes

medication

that needs to be given for the rest of the cat's life. This includes phenobarbital, diazepam or gabapentin.

After the seizure

A cat that has had a seizure is likely to experience one again in it's lifetime. If the seizures are more than 2 months apart then doctors tend not to prescribe long-term medication as it can have an impact on the liver. Cats that need long-term medication however, need to be taken to the vet for regular testing.

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